Posted by: katjorgensen | February 20, 2012

Connections

Connections are important to me.  I love connecting with friends and family.  And as a writer, I love connecting with readers.

Last week I was invited to dine with a local book club as they discussed my book, Your Eight O’Clock is Dead, which was their January selection.  I’m telling you, I felt like I was on the Oprah book club!  It was an amazing experience.

This book club has been meeting for over 20 years.  It was easy to tell that these ladies have a love for the written word.  They were a lively, fun group, and I felt like I got more than I gave.  Lots of great laughter.  I was a tad jealous that these intelligent, witty women get to meet each month and talk about books, relationships and anything else that comes to mind.

They made me feel like a star.  And they reminded me of why I write.  I write to entertain readers.  If I give my readers an enjoyable experience, I consider myself a success. These sweet ladies made me feel successful beyond words.  They are from left to right in the top picture:  Beverly, Martha, Sharon and Vicky.  In the bottom picture that’s Barbara, Mary and Lynn.

Connections.  Friendships.  Bonding.  It just doesn’t get much better than this.

Thank you, ladies, for a memorable evening.

Advertisements
Posted by: katjorgensen | February 17, 2012

Perserverance

It’s been a busy week here.  But I did squeak in some knitting time.  Knitting is how I relax.  In these stressful times where more and more is demanded of us, I think it’s vital that we have something in our lives that brings us relaxation and joy.

For me, that’s knitting.  Over the last month I’ve been working on an intricate lacy shawl, and Tuesday evening I finished it.  This is a shot of it fresh off of the needles and not blocked.  I’m very pleased with how it turned out.  It’ll look better once it’s blocked.

Tonight, I gave it a good soak and rinse and then blocked it to stretch the lace out.  When it’s dry, I’ll get some more shots of the completed work.  The finished measurements are 23″ x 66″.  I think it’ll be a great springtime shawl to thow over my shoulders.

But as relaxing as this project was, it was not without a challenge or two.  I think this is part of my process.  Here’s what happened.

Halfway through the shawl, I grew tired of it.  The pattern wasn’t progressing quickly enough. The lace took too much concentration.  The yarn was too thin.  The moon wasn’t out.  You get the idea.  Nothing suited me.  And I was not relaxing.  I was working, not playing.

I think a lot of us experience this “it’s too much like work and not enough like play” as we do things – even things we love.

I stepped back from my knitting and realized that in a long project, I reach this point, whether it’s in knitting or in writing.  I reach that point where I just want to be done.  I don’t want to put the work into the project that it requires.  The feeling doesn’t last, thank goodness.  But it is there for a brief period of time.  And this is the point where I could give up or change projects.

In writing, no matter how pleased I am with the book I’m working on, I invariably reach a point where I want to be done with the book, too.  It’s too hard.  The characters aren’t cooperating.  The plotting has stalled.  It’s work.  It’s too hard.  Boohoo. Whine.  Moan.

Thankfully, I get past this in writing, as in knitting.  It’s part of the process for me.  But as with the knitting, it is a point where I could scrap the story and be distracted by a shiny new story.  But I don’t allow myself to do that.  I persevere.  And it always pays off.  Always.

To be honest, my pretty Squall was not hard at all.  The pattern was well-written, the design was a dream, the yarn was extraordinary.  And in fact, while knitting this project, I learned a lot about how a shawl of this shape is constructed, and I learned more about repetitive motifs and how they work in knitting.

Life is full of humps.  Do we give up or do we perservere?

The successful people perservere.

But a lot of people get derailed by bumps in the road.  If they would only stick with it, whatever it is,  for that short period of time where it feels problematic they would discover that the bump in the road is relatively short in duration.

So my advice to you, and to myself, is to stick with whatever you’re doing and ride it out.  Soon the bump will pass and you’ll find yourself back enjoying what you were doing.

Perserverance.  It works every time.

Posted by: katjorgensen | February 13, 2012

Disturbing Statistics

The other day as I sat in my doctor’s waiting room, I picked up a magazine to pass the time.  Unlike a lot of doctors’ offices, my doctor has current issues available.  As I paged through a women’s magazine, I stumbled across an article that I found particularly disturbing.  And I wanted to share some of the information with you.  Not because it is disturbing, but because we need to be aware.

As a cancer survivor, I tend to think in terms of surviorship and try hard not to dwell on the statistics of the disease.  But this article simply astounded me.

Every 74 seconds someone in the world dies from breast cancer.  That’s every 74 SECONDS.  Talk about an attention grabber.  I stopped reading, and I think I may even have stopped breathing.

Sixty seconds in a minute.  Sixty minutes in an hour.  That’s almost 49 people lost to this disease every hour of the day.  Or over 1,150 lives lost every day.

If the nightly news carried statistics like this concerning a war, the public would be outraged.  Imagine losing over 1,100 soldiers in a war somewhere in the world every single day.

Make no mistake about it – we’re in a war.  A war against all cancers.  I know I’ve talked largely about breast cancer on this blog, because that was the type of cancer I had.  And these statistics only encompass breast cancer.  Add in all of the other cancers that we’re losing people to every single day, and I think we all would be shocked and outraged.

As I read on in the article, it mentioned that 1 out of every 2 men will experience some form of cancer in their lifetimes.  And one out of every three women will have cancer.   Those numbers are sobering.  And astounding.

I’ve already lost my dear mother to lung cancer.  I’ve had more relatives and friends diagnosed with various cancers than I’d care to count.  We are at war.

And we’ve got to do something to reverse these statistics.  To save lives.

Feel the rage at losing so many people a day to a disease that we need to eradicate.

Don’t be one of these statistics.

Educate yourself and your loved ones.

Be proactive.

Support causes like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Livestrong.  They are truly trying to make a difference worldwide.  Both have great links and information.

Do not shrink away from the facts.  One life lost a day to this disease is one too many.

And last, don’t give up hope.  Hope for a cure.  Hope for a better world.  Hope.

Posted by: katjorgensen | February 4, 2012

Casting On

As a writer, I stick with a project until I’m done.  No ifs, ands or buts about it.  I’m monogamous when I write.  Or so I tell myself.  And maybe that isn’t always a good thing for a creative person.

However, when I knit, I am easily distracted by a shiny new pattern or yarn.  I’m in the midst of working on an intricate lace shawl, and until this week, I was doing monogamous knitting.  But I’ve still got about 100 rows to do, and the temptation to cast on has been great today.

Here’s a picture of  Squall many rows ago.  It’s not as blue in real life.  The yarn is handspun.  Not by me.  I do spin, but we’d be waiting for a long time for me to produce enough yarn to make this shawl out of my handspun.  No, it was lovingly spun for the Fall in Full Color Club by Cheryl Newhouse at New Hue Handspun out of her BamHuey Lace yarn.  It it just stunning.

I’m ganking a picture of the finished project to let you see what it will eventually become.  Photo is courtesy of Knitspot.  Anne Hanson is my favorite designer.  I wish I could see what she sees when she designs her patterns.  They are works of art.

I’m using the 2 skein option, so my shawl will be bigger than this.  I’ve used up one skein of yarn already and the shawl above was made with only one skein.  But then I’m a big-boned fluffy kind of girl.

So on this rainy, gray day here in Richmond, Virginia, I put Squall aside and cast on for another Anne Hanson Knitspot project.  Motheye.

Again, this picture is from the Knitspot shop.  I’ll be making my Motheye out of The Verdant Gryphon’s Mithril lace in The Depths of the Sea colorway.

I ganked this picture from Gryphon’s website. I think it’s going to be beautiful.  And you know, sometimes we need to feed that need for beauty.  Not that Squall isn’t beautiful.  It’s gorgeous.  But today I needed to cast on for something else.  And Motheye got the nod.

It’s a life lesson I need to pay attention to.  Often, in writing, I’ll hang with a particular thread in a plot.  It could be stagnating because I’ve been working on it too long and pushing for it to hurry up and be done.  Well, things, creative things anyway, are never done before they’re good and ready to be done.

Squall is telling me to give it a brief rest and come back to it. Motheye is winking her pretty dark eye at me and saying, “Cast on.”

Letting go is often so much better than resistance.  Casting on, whether it’s with knitting or writing or some other creative endeavor, is not a bad thing.

So for that sticky part in the plot that I’ve been relentlessly working on this week, I’m letting it go and casting on for another thread in the book.

And to feed my creative soul, I’ve cast on for Motheye.

Are you finding that you need to cast on for something different in your life?  Try it.  You may be surprised with the results and with what happens when you go back to your original project.  Let me know what you think.  I’m interested.

Posted by: katjorgensen | February 2, 2012

Learning to Promote

I love to write.  A lot.  In fact, I can lose myself for hours writing.  Time ceases and I enter the world of my characters.  It’s just the best feeling.

I hate to promote.  I’m new to promoting. In late October, my first book was published in electronic format – “Your Eight O’Clock Is Dead” – it’s the first in a humorous mystery series set in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia.  I realized that to reach potential readers I’d have to promote not only the book but myself.  And I’m just such a neophyte where this is concerned.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve done bookstore signings with a non-fiction anthology I had published in 2008, and I absolutely loved that part of promotion.  I’m good with people in person.  To chat with someone about books or writing is a treat for me.  I’m interested in people and what they think.  So that was all very comfortable to me.

But enter the e-book market.  And I realized that I was totally unprepared for the promotional end of it.  Sure, I’d watched my writer friends go down that road, and I’d kind of paid attention to what they were doing it while I continued to write.  Often, I’d hear complaints about how difficult it was to connect with readers in this new virtual world we live in.  But the full magnitude of the situation didn’t sink in until I had to do it myself.

After the book came out, I realized no one knew who I was.  I had zero name recognition. What could I do to get my name and my book to readers?

I belong to a wonderful online community of knitters on Ravelry.com.  They are the best people and have seen me through a lot over the past several years.  They’re my friends.  In fact, I spend so much time on the computer either writing or connecting with my peeps in the knitting world, one of my friends gave me a magnet that proclaimed that all of my friends live in the computer.  And it’s true.  I have good friends all over the world thanks to Ravelry.

So it seemed logical to start with announcing to my online friends that my mystery was published.  Before I could do it myself, my dear friend Kim Tyler shared the information for me.  I was simply overwhelmed with the love my knitting friends poured out to me.  They have been staunch supporters of me and my writing, and I’ve received so much positive feedback from them.

Then another dear friend, Anne Hanson, a designer extraordinaire, used her Knitspot blog to alert her fans about my new book.  I was totally blown away by her generosity in doing this for me.

I contacted family and all of my non-knitting friends, and they’ve also helped me get the word out.

Sales have been steady, and I’ve been very pleased that 8 O’Clock has been so well-received.  But I want to reach more people.

So I’m trying a couple of things.  Yes, I’ve alerted my Facebook and Twitter peeps about my book.  But I went beyond that and signed up for some guest blog spots. This is kind of scary to me.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

My first guest blog was for a sweet lady who used to own an independent bookstore in Richmond, Lelia Taylor.  I blogged with her after Christmas.  It’s nice to start off with people you know.

For the other blogs, I hired a company to help pull this together for me.  I’d heard that doing it yourself was very time-consuming.  The price for the service was very reasonable.  I think you have to make a judgment call on what you need to do vs. what you can effectively delegate both in monetary and time savings.

I’ve also tried to make myself and the book more visible on Kindle-friendly sites, since that is where I sell most of my books.  Kindle Mojo and the Frugal Ereader are two that come to mind.  I think the added exposure has definitely helped.

It’s been quite the learning curve, and I know that there’s still so much more to figure out.  I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing with promo.  And maybe I’ll learn to like it and feel comfortable with it.  We’ll see.

What’s that old saying – nothing ventured, nothing gained?

Posted by: katjorgensen | January 30, 2012

Breast Cancer – Goodbye

I lost a sweet knitting friend a couple of weeks ago to breast cancer.  She was a valiant fighter and an optimist.  This was her second bout of breast cancer.  She leaves behind a loving husband and a beautiful daughter.  And many, many friends who will miss her easy smile, quick wit and happy spirit.

It’s a horrible disease.  The statistics are staggering.   I think it’s something like 1 in 6 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  Think of yourself and 5 of your good friends.  It’s possible one of you will be touched by this illness in your lifetime.  If it happens once, it’s too often – in my opinion.

Please, please be proactive.  Do your monthly self-exams, get a physician to check your breasts each year.  And get your mammograms on schedule.  Do not pass them by.  Do not think that this can’t happen to you.  It can.

Three years ago, I  found the lump in my breast.  I am one of the lucky ones.  Today, I am a survivor.  And I want to continue to be a survivor and to raise awareness about this gawd-awful disease.

For the next several Mondays, I’m going to be featuring flash mob videos from around the world.  People out there dancing and prancing and living.  People remembering loved ones they’ve lost. People trying to raise awareness.  People like you and me.

So, today, I dedicate this post in loving memory to my friend Janet.  You are missed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFfAbwWhVPk

Posted by: katjorgensen | January 27, 2012

Favorite Yarn Shops

Several years ago when I went through breast cancer, I consoled myself with a few(cough, cough) online yarn purchases.  Okay, a lot of online yarn purchases.  But I considered it a necessary therapy to get me through a rough patch in my life.

Even though I was too sick to knit, the yarn packages helped me so much.  I’d feel the yummy yarn and look at all of the pretty colors and dream of what I would make with it when I was all well.

Unfortunately, chemo leaves you with a brain that is mush.  Forgetfulness is horrible.  So I don’t remember a lot about what yarns were going to become what patterns.  LOL.  But I do have the yarns, and I do still squish and feel them to brighten my spirits on days when the weather is yucky.  Like today.

I’ve compiled a list of 10 places where you can order some beautiful yarns.  In no particular order here they are.  I am not affiliated with any of these shops in any way other than as a customer.  I am a co-moderator for the Knitspot clubs, but that’s it.  More about that later.

Here they are:

  1. Fibre Space
  2. The Loopy Ewe
  3. The Verdant Gryphon
  4. Cephalopod Yarns
  5. DoodleBug Yarns
  6. WEBs Yarns
  7. The Woolen Rabbit
  8. Miss Babs Yarns
  9. Wooly Wonka Fiber
  10. Bare Naked Knitspot Club and Fall in Full Color Club

All of these places have given me great customer service and beautiful luxury yarns.  Life really is too short to knit with ugly yarn.  Pick a few places on my list and visit them.  You may find yourself with some new yarn to give a home to

And I cannot say enough good things about Anne Hanson’s Knitspot clubs.  She is winding down the first club – Fall in Full Color.  It will be back in August with new colors and new Knitspot patterns to delight us.  But for now, we’re gearing up for the Bare Naked Knitspot Club.  Anne is going to be sending us all natural (un-dyed) fibers starting in the middle of February.  Oh my!  Neutrals are out of my blue/green comfort zone, but Anne is such a talented designer, that I cannot wait to see what she comes up with for this club.  It’s like a birthday every month when the package arrives.  And we have FUN in the clubhouse.  We talk about books, diets, yarn stashes, what we’re working on and just life in general.  It’s a safe, warm place to hang out.  No stress. Just good friends and fun.

And if you need a bag or three to put your new yarn and upcoming projects, I’m recommending one of my all-time favorite bag designers.  Check out Michele’s site 3 Bags Full here.

Hope I’ve got you cruising the internet and hope you have a few things coming your way.  You deserve it  : )

Posted by: katjorgensen | January 25, 2012

Cover Happiness

Working on the 2nd book in the River City Mystery series, Your Time is Up.

Here’s the cover shot.

I think the cover artist captured the story with the design.  And I couldn’t be happier.   Thank you, Jessie.

If all goes well, it’ll be out in the spring or early summer.  I’ll be sure to let you know.

Posted by: katjorgensen | January 23, 2012

A Little R and R – Feeding Your Creative Soul

Like most of us, I work hard all week-long. When it comes to the weekend, I’m ready for some quality R & R.  Kicking back and relaxing and having some fun.  And for me that means knitting or something related to yarn.

So, what do you call a three-day weekend spent away from home with 48 other knitters?  Much-needed rest and relaxation, that’s what.  This year my local knitters invited me to a yearly retreat at Kerr Lake, Va, called Knitting at the Lake (KATL for short).

Here’s the view of Kerr Lake from our balcony.  It was way too cold to sit outside since the temperatures were in the 20s, but as pretty as it was in winter, I can imagine spring, summer and fall would be stunning.  It was relaxing just looking out of the window.  Peaceful, serene.  And don’t all of us need some peace and serenity in our busy lives?

As writers, it is imperative that we find ways to feed our soul and refill our creative wells.  Knitting and knitters do that for me.  If you don’t have an addiction a hobby or interest that does that for you, I urge you to find one.  You’ll be so happy you did.

But back to the KATL retreat.

Kerr Lake is in Clarksville, VA about two hours from where I live. We had knitters from all over Virginia and North Carolina in attendance, plus a few from as far away as Ohio.  I love getting to meet and know new people.   Everyone at the KATL retreat was so friendly, supportive and welcoming.

Clarksville is a quaint town filled with lovely old homes and many unique shops.  Friday night we ate in an old Victorian home that had been converted to a restaurant.  I highly recommend The Lake House for dining if you’re ever in the area. Great food, reasonably priced with excellent and friendly service.

I had an awesome roommate.  She was adverse to having her picture taken though.  I can’t understand why.  She’s a beautiful lady.  Try as hard as I could, this was about par for the weekend with my photography.

She’s an excellent knitter and a delight to be around.  Her Ravelry nickname is Frequent Frogger because it seems she is always pulling her knitting out.  In her defense, I have to say that when you go to a retreat, you need simple projects because there is so much talking and laughter that you simply can’t concentrate on lacy or intricate patterns.  I may be frogging my work, too.  Seems one of my cables is twisted in the wrong direction.

While I was at the retreat one of my local knitting peeps, Nelda, taught a workshop to a select few of us on correcting mistakes.  Before I frog my piece, I’m going to try what I learned in her workshop.

Nelda is an accomplished knitter.  Here are a few of her finished objects.  The first is an amazing red sweater.  My camera washed out the color.  But it is stunning.

And this is a table runner that Nelda made and dyed all of the yarn in the project.  She brought along a color card and I was absolutely amazed at her work.  I want to be Nelda in my knitting life when I grow up.

The Knitting Sisters, a yarn shop from Williamsburg, VA brings just about the whole shop to the retreat and sets up for our shopping pleasure.  You cannot imagine how hard these ladies work!  They let you run a tab all weekend long.  At first I thought this was a good thing.  By Sunday morning, I wasn’t so sure.  But I did get some beautiful yarn, a shawl pin and some knitting related earrings.  Not that I needed anything.

Then Saturday night we had a chance to destash yarns, books, bags and other knitting related items with our fellow KATL attendees.  I was no shrinking violet in this either.  I may have gotten a bit of a head start by shopping in my roommates stash sale in the room.  But I came home with lots of new yarns and 2 two totes that needed a loving home.   : )

Here’s one shawl that I will not be making.  It is probably the most gorgeous shawl I’ve ever seen in person.  The workmanship was excellent.  The color perfect.

You can’t see the beading in the picture, but all of those swirls have beads to highlight them.  This was done by our northern VA knitter Nancy.  And it is truly a work of art.  I wish you could have heard the oohs and ahhs as this was held up.

The weekend was over way too soon and we packed and headed back to our homes.  But not before we made our reservations for next year.  What a great way to start the year off.  What a wonderful way to feed my creative soul.

So what do you do for relaxation?  And how do you feed your creative soul?

Posted by: katjorgensen | January 6, 2012

Flash Mob Mondays – Another great mob

Great flash mob supporting breast cancer awareness and survivability of this horrible disease. I hope this will make you smile and remember all of the women in your life you’d like to see cancer-free.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Categories